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20 things that many Swiss Abroad miss

Moving abroad for a decade is probably one of the most exciting things I have ever done. Some memorable moments when my Swiss heart about jumped a beat were when our visiting friends showered us with Swiss goodies: Bottles of Rivella, bars of Swiss chocolate, chunks of Swiss cheese (the real kind) and even the occasional illegal bratwurst (pssst!)...

Apart from all material goods, there are many things that the Swiss abroad miss about Switzerland, including these 20:


1. Distances in Switzerland are mindbogglingly short and it takes no time to get from place A to place B! Crossing Switzerland along its longest axis takes just four hours...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Distances


2. Exercising direct democracy in the most direct way! Because the tradition of getting up early on voting day, taking a stroll down to the local Gemeindehaus and having a chat with the neighbors beats mailing in your ballot!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Direct Democracy


3. Oh, those gorgeous lakes! Who needs an ocean, anyway?

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Lakes


4. 1st of August is the ultimate holiday of the year, no?

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - 1. August National Holiday


5. Where else can you get a decent mixed salad Salatteller?

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Salad Plate


6. ... or a refreshing Rivella beverage?

Rivella in Switzerland

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7. Punctuality. But hey, even in Switzerland it is OK to show up two minutes late to meet friends!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Swiss Punctuality


8. Hiking in the Swiss Alps! No matter how toughened up one thinks they are, the green pastures, majestic peaks and mountain restaurants with kitschy sunbrellas will surely conjure up feelings of homesickness...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Hiking Swiss Alps


9. Cervelat. Need we say more?

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Cervelat


10. And bread. Phew, I always missed that yummy Swiss bread...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Swiss Bread


11. Those unmissable town festivals with live Ländler folk music and vendors selling cotton candy and smelly raclette!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Laendler Swiss Folk Music


12. And then those charming, colorful houses dotting the cobblestone streets of old towns...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Houses Appenzell
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13. A good old cow crossing!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Cow Crossing


14. Roasted almonds, Magenbrot and merry-go-rounds bring back memories of childhood visits to the Chilbi fairgrounds...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Chilbi


15. Tap water from the source... If someone was to sell it commercially, the label would simply have to state "Natural Swiss Tap"!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Tap Water


16. Switzerland is perfectly clean as streets are routinely swept and littering is rare. A common joke is that one could just as easily have a Sunday picnic on the pavement of a Swiss street...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Clean Streets


17. Despite daily papers and mobile news, it is good to know that the Tagesschau news program is still on TV every night at 19:30...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - SF Tagesschau


18. Dialects are part of the Swiss DNA! Many Swiss who live abroad realize how nice it is to hear train announcements in various dialects or people chatting in their distinct dialects when they come back to Switzerland...

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Dialect


19. Arriving at the Zürich Airport terminal E for a visit at home!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - ZRH Terminal E


20. We've reached the bottom of the list. Say what?!? We've missed something? Wait - you're right! CHOCOLATE!!!

Things Swiss Abroad Miss - Swiss Migros Chocolate

(Originally posted on and loosely translated with permission of the original author, Anastasia Mamonova)

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Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators.

Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.


  • This was taken in the old town of Appenzell! If you have never visited this place, you should put it high up on your list ;-) Also, there is a neat museum about Appenzell traditions right next to the churches… Very insightful!


  • This is a great list. I don’t just miss Cervelats but a few other meat products too – cold meats like Aufschnitt and Bündnerfleisch for example. And then there’s Mohrenköpfe, or whatever they are called these days (those chocolate things filled with a white marshmallow cream)… in nearly 17 years abroad I have found decent substitutes for many Swiss things (or learnt how to make them myself), but I have never been able to find anything that comes close to Mohrenköpfe… I can’t mail order them either because they’re too fragile to be sent in the mail. :-(

  • Shopping centres no larger than the Glattzentrum — where you still manage to find just about all you are looking for!
    Bratwurst mit Rösti und Zwiebelsauce… that is a must. Mezzo Mix or Rivella grün (the wife prefers Rivella rot).
    The efficiency and safety that is the SBB.
    An honest half litre of ice tea at Migros or Coop for less than Fr. —.50 (in London these prices can be astronomical, and who likes carrying a nine-pack for nearly two pounds!?). Believe me, these were lifesavers when I did my weekend SBB trips. (No supermarket in the UK comes close to those in Switzerland, not even if you get free coffee. It is more than merely a question of “quality” or “freebies”.)
    The singing minibar service people that actually come to you — in a familiar Züridüütsch accent (in the UK, on the trains with the best service, they remain “still”.)
    Leaving Zürich HB on an IC 2000 and only feeling you’re in motion 3 seconds after the train has ALREADY started moving.
    Frutiger everywhere (except ZRH and SBB) — even the Federal Government and the signs use it.

    My favourite from my last Rückkehr (even if I was in the Ticino this time ’round):
    Immediately switching to Schwiizerdütsch after you hear the receptionist, whom you thought spoke “only” Italian, answering someone’s call in Mundart. Immediately there are “smiles of identification as one’s own instead of complete strangers”.
    And travelling onboard SWISS in Swiss-German.

    • You are spot on, David! Love all the inputs, but have yet to find a singing minibar person on a train ;-) ^Dimitri

      • It’s the Mundart singing! Always was part of the InterCity leaving Zürich HB at 08:04 and he always started from the very back of the train, on the upper deck of the IC 2000. (Memories from the very late 1990s!) It was fantastic: «Kafi, Tee, guete Morgä!» (and then the conductor would chime in with «Grüezi mitenand, alli Billett vorwiise bittä!»). He sometimes had me as a faithful customer, especially when I felt more than a little dehydrated. :-)

        (In China they managed to make a “Chinese variant” — the Beijing edition was on the local service to the suburbs of Beijing where they had a minibar person who REALLY sang, as I heard him, in the local Beijing accent, in Chinese. I never knew if the two ever met, but there you go!)

        Extra on an edit: The way you write numbers and sums in Switzerland.
        I just wrote a local lately in typical “Swiss notion”: “I am aware there is an extra of £75.— for this.”
        Or at times: “It was less than £ —.50 at the local supermarket.”
        Plus in London digit 1s are written nearly as “/”, like you would in the US and China, and 7s rarely have the extra dash. Somehow they managed to process the forms with me writing it the way we would have done back in Zürich!

  • Bündner Fleisch, impossible to get in the UK.

    Fasnachts Chüechli, Schenkeli und Züri Tirggel.

  • don’t forget the postal service ripping you off for that delivery from abroad with taxes equal to 1/3 to 1/2 the value of the item purchased!

  • Church bells. Here in Canada, the cities are spaced out more and it is actually quite rare for me to notice church bells being rung. Perhaps complaints about noise have silenced most of them. However, I remember some towns in Switzerland (e.g. – Brig) coming alive with the sounds of the bells. I would walk through town and the sound would be coming from all directions and it was lovely. It really touched me, and I miss it.

Dimitri Burkhard

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